Dating in this era is, for lack of a better word, weird. Many of us take to the best dating apps on the market to find our potential significant others, and date night nowadays are experienced via Zoom. But whether your first date is in person or over the Internet, you're going to want to be prepared for whatever a romantic meet-up can throw your way.
First and foremost, it's worth noting that a successful date doesn't necessarily mean you and your date are a match. Sometimes, people are simply not compatible, and you shouldn't stress yourself in making it work if it doesn't. Don't force your date into being "the one," but rather get to know them enough to see if it's a possibility. Every date won't work out perfectly, but it will get you a step closer to the one that will. If you’re looking for practical advice, keep these first date tips in mind the next time you’re planning your next romantic rendezvous.
7 first date tips to follow for your next night out
1. Don't expect more before it begins
It would be great if we knew going into the first date that it was going to be perfect and work out and nothing would ever go wrong, ever. Okay, we know that’s not going to happen, but we can dream, right? In all seriousness, love at first sight sounds great in a fairytale, but in truth, it’s an unfair standard. You're putting a ton of pressure on the both of you to live up to “that one” moment, so why not relax and just enjoy the date? Live in the present and be open to possibilities.
2. Be entirely yourself
This advice may seem obvious, but the pressure to impress your date can often be overwhelming. When you feel tempted to please your date by agreeing when really you don't, admitting to doing something you haven't, or lying about anything, you're only hurting yourself. This isn’t the kind of foundation you want to build a potential future on. You are wonderfully unique, and you deserve someone who appreciates the differences between the two of you as much as the similarities.
- The best Hinge answers and questions to add to your dating profile
3. Be honest with your date
Like being authentic to who you are, it is important to be honest on a date. However, know that there is a line between being honest and being mean. For instance, if you feel the need to start the conversation off with, "you might not want to hear this but," or, "don't take this the wrong way, but," chances are you know you're not going to be polite.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh summed it up brilliantly, saying once: "Open, honest communication is the best foundation for any relationship, but remember that at the end of the day, it's not what you say or what you do, but how you make people feel that matters the most."
4. Put your phone away
Commit to an hour or two of strictly getting to know each other without electronics. It not only shows how serious you are about getting to know your date, but deeper connections and revelations are more likely to happen when both dates are giving their undivided attention.
According to a 2012 study (opens in new tab) featured in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers found that just the presence of a cell phone changed the potential of relationships and reduced deep connections between strangers. In the findings, the phone didn’t even belong to either party and just sat on the table. It’s hard to imagine making a meaningful connection if someone is on their phone the whole time, so leave it in your bag and focus on the date.
5. Find a setting where you can talk
Just as phones restrict more personal connections, so does a crowded location. You are both taking time out of your busy schedules to see if there is any potential between the two of you. Bars are common dating stomping grounds, but loud music and tons of people don’t exactly make for a great, intimate chats.
Consider finding a public place, like a coffee shop or a quiet lunch spot, to really get a chance to connect with someone. As always, stay safe and give your friends or family members date details for your protection.
- Online dating tips: we asked the experts for their best advice
6. Split the check—or don't
Paying the check is a highly debatable topic, and opinions on the subject vary from person to person. Decide where you stand on the matter before the date. When it comes time to pay, you can either pick it up yourself, offer to split the check, or say nothing as your date grabs it. If you're unsure come dinner's end, offer to pay out of politeness and let your date choose what they're most comfortable with.
Honestly, if paying the bill is the determining factor on your second date, there may be more specific problems behind it. Don't let the financial endings of a date discourage you. Instead, be open and honest about your feelings on the matter, and you'll have the best results.
7. Know yourself and what you want
Knowing who you are and what you want puts you five steps ahead in finding your match. Lasting relationships start with each individual knowing what they're looking for and then agreeing on the other fitting that description. You don't have to be nitpicky, but you need to know what traits you simply can and cannot live with. As with most things, a list is your friend!
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